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Comment & Response
January 29, 2019

Precision Medicine vs Preventive Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA. 2019;321(4):406. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.18636

To the Editor Dr Psaty and colleagues1 compared precision medicine and preventive medicine as 2 distinct models in medicine. They posited that precision medicine is deterministic, often with a gene-centric approach, while preventive medicine is probabilistic and applies to common conditions such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The 2 models are complementary and not competitive. Emerging scientific evidence will guide physicians toward preventive and curative interventions that can work best at the population or individual levels. As envisioned by the All of Us research program,2 precision medicine encompasses both treatment and prevention and is more than genetics: “Precision medicine takes into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology.” Furthermore, precision does not necessarily imply biologic determinism. Most human diseases are due to complex gene-environment interactions that can lead only to probabilistic approaches to prevention.

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